They say it is unlucky to change the name of a boat, and with three different name swaps, HMD Trusty Star’s odds didn’t look too good from the start. Built in 1919 by Ouse Shipbuilding for the British Royal Navy, the naval drifter was originally named HMT Groundswell. The steel vessel was about 26m in length with a beam of 5m and had a triple expansion steam engine. Renamed FV Elie Ness when used in the fishing industry in Scotland, the drifter was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1939. Converted into a minesweeper, the vessel came to be known as HMD Trusty Star.

On the night of 15-16 February 1941, the Luftwaffe dropped magnetic and acoustic mines by parachute in the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett harbour. On 9 April 1941, the Trusty Star was fitted with the proper equipment for sweeping magnetic mines, including an LL cable towed behind the ship and supplied with electrical pulses. The drifter had great success keeping the harbour open despite heavy mine-laying operations by the Luftwaffe. However, on 30 April 1941, Trusty Star struck a mine and sank in the Grand Harbour. True to her name, the naval drifter was back in service in early September 1941 after being salvaged and engaged once more in the mine-sweeping force. On the night of 12–13 May 1942, minesweepers Beryl and Trusty Star narrowly escaped being hit by three torpedoes fired at them by the e-boats escorting mine layers whilst they were working outside the breakwater.

Trusty Star’s third tryst with destiny occurred on 10 June 1942. In the process of clearing mines laid by German S-boats outside the Grand Harbour, she hit a mine and sank about 3 km off Fort St. Elmo. Only one Maltese seaman was injured, and the rest of the crew were rescued unhurt.

HMS Trusty-Star

Dive Site

Open to Divers through Registered Dive Centres and Clubs

Maximum Depth: 90 metres


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